Best Moon Phase for Freshwater Fishing

The best times to go fishing are when the fish are naturally most active. The Sun, Moon phase, tides, and weather all influence fish activity. For example, fish tend to feed more at sunrise and sunset, and also during a full moon lunar phase when tides are higher than average. What is the Best Moon Phase for Freshwater Fishing?

According to fishermen & the Farmers Almanac, a Full & New Moon is the best Moon Phase for freshwater fishing, these moons have an impact on everything that dwells in & around H2O, just as they do on tides & freshwater fish that rise to moonlit surfaces excited which improves metabolism & appetite. 

During the day, a full moon, sometimes known as a “fishing moon,” can create some fish mischief that can also keep you busy with good action. The moon cycles have an impact on everything that dwells in the water, just as they do on the tides. This is also true for freshwater fish.


What is Lunar Moon Phase


A lunar Moon Phase is when the moon as it moves around the earth, appears to change shape each night from our view. Some nights, the Moon might look like a narrow crescent. On other nights, the Moon might look like a bright circle and on other nights, you might not be able to see the Moon at all.

The different phases of the moon are caused by the angle from which an observer on earth can see the moon illuminated by the sun as it orbits our planet. As the moon makes its way around the earth, a person can look up in the sky and see various fractions of its surface reflecting sunlight.


How Moon Phase Affects Fishing Success

The eight Moon phases:

🌑 New Moon Phase: We cannot see the Moon when it is a new moon.

🌒 Waxing Crescent Moon Phase: In the Northern Hemisphere, we see the waxing crescent phase as a thin crescent of light on the right.

🌓 First Quarter Moon Phase: We see the first quarter phase as a half-moon.

🌔 Waxing Gibbous Moon Phase: The waxing gibbous phase is between a half-moon and a full moon. Waxing means it is getting bigger.

🌕 Full Moon Phase: We can see the Moon completely illuminated during full moons.

🌖 Waning Gibbous Moon Phase: The waning gibbous phase is between a full moon and a half moon. Waning means it is getting smaller.

🌗 Third Quarter Moon Phase: We see the third quarter moon as a half moon, too. It is the opposite half as illuminated in the first quarter moon.

🌘 Waning Crescent Moon Phase: In the Northern Hemisphere, we see the waning crescent phase as a thin crescent of light on the left.

The Moon displays these eight phases one after the other as it moves through its cycle each month. It takes about 27.3 days for the Moon to orbit Earth. However, because of how the sunlight hits the lunar Moon, it takes about 29.5 days to go from one new moon to the next new moon.

While there is always half of the moon that is lit up by the sun the observer on earth will only see the moon pass through its phases one full time in a span of 29 and a half days.


Does Moon Phase Affect Freshwater Fishing


Yes! Most fishermen believe that the position and lunar age of the moon, more than anything else, dictates game fish success or lack thereof. Most anglers on salt and freshwater use moon phases to plan fishing trips and use them as an excuse for skunking or coming up empty.

When it’s high tide or a full moon, get closer to the coast for a great chance of fishing success. The moon’s phases are directly related to tides and the volume of water flowing to and from the sea and this is known as a productive ingredient for catching big fish.

During full moon phases, the volume of water that comes in during the rising tide increases. This extra water could be a great benefit when fishing if you’re an angler wanting to catch a large sportfish. And because of greater tidal volumes, some larger fish like the mighty Striper swim inland over longer distances than they would usually. It is considered that the best time for fishing is between the new and full Moons phases.

Even though lakes and most rivers that are beyond tidal movement don’t see real tides the fish that live in these waters can develop habits that are similar to fish in tidal waters especially when it comes to eating. Bass in particular is abt to feed frenzies during changing moon phase when insects make themselves available enticing whatever is swimming on top.

Some fish become more active in bright light during a full moon. It makes it simpler for them to locate the bait. That is one of the reasons why saltwater fishermen advise against fishing the day following a full lunar moon is that the same for freshwater fishing?



Great Fishing Times


  • Fishing one hour before and one hour after high tides, and one hour before and one hour after low tides. Inland, the times for high tides correspond with the times when the lunar Moon is due south. Low tides are halfway between high tides.
  • Fishing during the “morning rise” (after sunup for a spell) and the “evening rise” (just before sundown and the hour or so after).
  • Fishing is better during the rise and set of the Moon
  • Fishing when the barometer is steady or on the rise. (But even during stormy periods, the fish aren’t going to give up feeding. The smart fisherman will find just the right bait.)
  • Fishing when there is a hatch of flies—caddis flies or mayflies, commonly. (The fisherman will have to match his fly with the hatching flies or go fishless.)
  • Fishing is better when the breeze is from a westerly quarter rather than from the north or east.
  • Fishing is better when the water is still or slightly rippled, rather than during a wind.


Fishing on a Full-Moon Freshwater


Most fishermen at least 90% of the anglers I know, only consider the importance of the four lunar phases anglers need to think about.  Many fishermen swear based on life experience that catches will come from the full moon and new lunar moon. The idea behind moon fishing, phase fishing, or fishing by moon phases is that the bigger the tide, the better and more active the fish. This equates somehow inland where there are no tides.

  • New Moon
  • First Quarter
  • Full Moon
  • Last Quarter

The Farmer’s Almanac has a ton of information for anglers, including a list of the finest fishing days of the year. These dates are based on lunar phases and are divided into major and minor categories. The most important thing to remember about fishing by the moon is that periods of a full or new moon tend to be the best.

When the moon is exactly overhead or below your latitude, major periods for fishing occur. When the moon is 90 degrees on each side of your baseline, a minor period for fishing occurs.

When the moon is full, there is no great fishing, according to traditional knowledge, the conclusion of a lunar cycle reduces your odds of catching fish two days before and after a full moon. And because of the lunar moon’s influence on the ocean water tides, it’s no surprise that many fishermen feel this way. A full moon disrupts the fish’s behavioral patterns that include feeding patterns.

During the day,  full moon phases sometimes known as a “fishing moon,” can create some fish mischief that can also keep you busy with good action. The moon cycles have an impact on everything that dwells in the water, just as they do on the tides. This is also true for freshwater fish.

Freshwater fish like Bluegill, Bass, and Crappie spawn or lay their eggs or will just tend to hang around on the surface of a lake at night during a full-moon event enticed by the light reflected off the surface that often offers up some snacks. Plan your fishing time on major or minor fish-feeding periods that occur near times of sunrise or sunset that also coincide with a full or new lunar moon phase.



JimGalloway Author/Editor

References: Sport Fishing-How Moon Phase affects Fishing



Recent Posts